Review: Tygers of Pan Tang – Bloodlines
Mighty Music (May 5th, 2023)
Reviewer: Jason Hopper
I am admittedly late to the party when it comes to Tygers of Pan Tang. I discovered them by reviewing ‘Majors & Minors‘, a best of collection of their most recent four albums (review here) and now I have the pleasure of reviewing their newest full-length release, ‘Bloodlines’. When a band like this has been around this long, there is a good chance you are bound to get a quality release, even with a new guitarist and bassist joining the fray.
Opening track ‘Edge of the World’ is a great hard rock track that contains some traces of middle eastern influences. If you’ve heard Van Halen’s ‘The Seventh Seal’ or tracks off House of Shakira’s debut, then you’ll get the flavor this song is going for. A solid way to start the album.
The band keeps things rolling with Track 2’s ‘In My Blood’. Another rockin’ winner that will surely please fans of the band. While I enjoyed the track, I found the vocal effects in the chorus when singer Jack Meille is overdubbed detracted from the strength of the song. Simple gang vocals without the electronic simulation would have been a better approach.
Track 3 is the Van Halen-esque barnstorming first single ‘Fire on the Horizon’. You really can’t go wrong with guitars performing muted E strumming in the verses, standard but effective. Add in some sparse double bass drumming and you have a commanding song that could easily be the live set opener. I did appreciate the change in pacing with ‘Light of Hope’, one of a handful of favorites from this collection. I appreciated the different riffs/notes being played in the verses by original guitarist Robb Weir and newcomer Francesco Marras. A slower but still formidable track.
There are solid rockers of varying rhythms found throughout the album, along with two ballads. Of the two, one of them is an absolute standout. ‘Making All the Rules’ closes the album and I’m usually not crazy about ballads ending albums, but this song is an exception. The music coincides perfectly with the message, building into a crescendo of desperation as the lyrics focus on young kids trapped by life circumstances and making some possibly disastrous choices. I never noticed this before, but singer Jack Meille sounds so much like Europe’s Joey Tempest here that it’s uncanny. One of the best songs I have heard from them.
A small issue I have with the album is the production. Producer Tue Madsen handles all duties, including mixing and mastering. While it certainly sounds well recorded, there’s something lacking in the power of the recordings, as if it’s slightly muted to what came from the band before. This was evident immediately when I heard the re-recording of their previously released song ‘A New Heartbeat’. The EP with that track was released last year and I reviewed it, noting how good this particular song sounded. The moment I heard the new recording, I immediately noticed the difference. The EP version has a thicker, richer sound. If you heard the original, you’ll take notice as well. I had not noticed the production as a standout until I came to that track and it made me wonder if I would love the album even more with the EP’s Marco Angioni and Harry Hess behind the boards.
Even though the band recently welcomed a new guitarist and bassist, the material was not negatively affected as the Tygers seem to be firing on all cylinders. They have another winner on their hands with this album, continuing an impressive late career streak that shows no signs of faltering. Check the album out and be grateful that a band that had its inception forty-five years ago is still able to release such fantastic material.
- Edge of the World
- In My Blood
- Fire on the Horizon
- Light of Hope
- Back For Good
- Taste of Love
- Kiss the Sky
- A New Heartbeat
- Making All the Rules